Both sides come into the match having won their European fixture midweek comfortably. The Red Devils made an example of RB Leipzig whilst the Gunners beat Dundalk comfortably. There is clearly a positive vibe as the players head into the game.
However, their previous Premier League outings resulted in dropped points as United barely clinched a draw against Chelsea all the while the Gunners yet again succumbed to Jamie Vardy‘s winner. Both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Mikel Arteta will be looking to undo last week’s disappointment and clinch a win tomorrow.
Tactically speaking, we can expect a very familiar side from Solskjaer with midweek hero Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood leading the attack ahead of Bruno Fernandes. Paul Pogba will likely start alongside in-form Nemanja Matic in midfield. The back-four can also be expected to remain unchanged from their previous fixture.
On the other hand, Arteta is a tricky person. The Spaniard’s tactics are not exactly predictable and neither does he do what fans usually expect. There’s a good chance that he may opt for a 3-4-3 again in order to take a more cautious approach. Bukayo Saka or Ainsley Maitland-Niles could play as the left wing-back, whilst Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey command the midfield.
However, Arsenal lack fit centrebacks at the moment and it is very likely that William Saliba will not be used this time around. So a back-four with Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Magalhaes as Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin fulfilling fullback duties seems more likely. Partey, Xhaka and Dani Ceballos may feature in a flat midfield.
Alexandre Lacazette has been abysmal as of late and could be seen dropped for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who can finally slot back into his central role. Nicolas Pepe has been an inconsistent name on the teamsheet under Arteta so it is equally likely that Willian could start over him. Saka could feature in the front-three, although Reiss Nelson’s midweek performance may change that.
Solskjaer’s side have been insanely lucky with penalties lately which could pose a threat to the Londoners. Mustafi and Xhaka have tendencies to make defensive errors, so it would not be surprising if the referee points to the spot at some point in the game. Moreover, Bernd Leno is not exactly an expert at saving penalties, having only saved one so far only to concede the rebound.
Referee: Mike Dean
Dean has refereed Arsenal in a total of 60 (!) PL games. Out of those 60 games, Arsenal have won 28.
Dean has awarded Man Utd 16 (!) penalties in the 61 games he has officiated with them. Averaging a penalty every 3.81 games.
— Kiko (@AfcKiko) October 30, 2020
But Arteta may use Partey’s physicality and technical ability to exploit what currently is a very shaky United midfield. The Ghanian’s dribbling ability and through balls will be difficult to deal with for Matic alone as not only is Pogba not a defensive player, he is also not exactly in the best form. Combining that with Ceballos’ energy and press-resistance, the North Londoners could overrun the United midfield — especially with Xhaka sitting deep to cover.
One thing is for sure, Partey will be essential to how his side perform tomorrow.
Though Arteta’s squad boasts a more balanced set of players, it’s likely that the Mancunians snatch a cheeky win at home.